Unicorn status is no easy feat. To give you an idea, Interswitch is now valued higher than FBNH (N208 billion), UBA (N225 billion) and Access Bank (N327 billion). Interswitch becomes the first Nigerian fintech to reach a valuation of $1 billion and VISA is set to acquire 20% of it. According to Skynews, VISA and Interswitch are in advanced talks about a transaction that could be announced this week.
VISA’s move to acquire a 20% stake in Interswitch is part of preparations for its planned IPO. Also, with this investment, VISA aims to check competition from its rival, MasterCard who invested $300m in Dubai-based Network International ahead of its stock market debut in London. Network International, is the largest payment processor in Africa and the Middle East.
What’s in it for VISA and MasterCard?
For VISA and MasterCard, these are strategic investments into Africa’s biggest fintech companies. The partnerships give them the opportunity to leverage on already established platforms and infrastructures in these fast-growing and under-penetrated African markets.
One of such assets is the Verve card, Interswitch’s Nigerian Pan-African financial technology and payment card brand. It is the biggest domestic debit card scheme in Africa, with more than 19 million cards active on its network. Hence, an investment by Visa will facilitate the formation of a strategic partnership to target the fast-growing African digital payment market.
The growing influence of the likes of Flutterwave and Paystack in the payment processing market makes such a stake by VISA a good deal for Interswitch as it would try to increase its market dominance.